Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fundraising Fun

Adoptive families can certainly be creative. We have several friends who are raising money for adoptions from Ethiopia who have had some great ideas for fundraisers. Consider doing some of your Christmas shopping from one of these families. You will not only get to enjoy giving gifts to your friends and family, you will also get to bless an orphaned child at the same time!

The Short family is raising money by offering photography sessions for families. This would be a great way to get your Christmas card photo done this year. Mark Short writes:

What: Professionally capture your memories.
Why: I’m passionate about family and photography. I want to use photography to bless others and possibly raise some money to help with the adoption.
Cost: Donations are greatly appreciated, but are not required.
Where: Any location convenient to you in Middle TN.
When: Any evening or weekend. Appointments are appreciated.
How: I’ll bring my photography equipment. Work with you on the setting and focus. Capture, post process, and provide a CD/DVD of your pics and/or upload them to a secure web gallery for your viewing and sharing.

You can glimpse my work at:

Email Mark: to set up an appointment.

The Franklin family is receiving some help in their fundraising from a friend who runs a business selling personalized stationery. Jo Franklin writes:

From Oct. 25-Nov.7 the proceeds from all orders will go towards our adoption. Check out her website at to see examples of her personalized notecards, notepads, photo Christmas cards, baby announcements, bag tags, and gift cards. You can also email her at and she will email send you an online catalog. Just let her know when you order that you want to help out the Franklin family!

The Watson family is selling some really cool Africa T-shirts that Amy has handmade using bleach. You can choose your color and your fit – standard or fitted (for women) They are available with or without a heart shape in the center of the design. Just email Amy at to let her know what you want.

The Dixon family has set up an Etsy store to sell Jenny’s creative photo greeting card designs. They write:

Jenny has set up an online shop named Easy as 127 (after James 1:27) to sell custom photo cards. These are great-looking and affordable cards Christmas, birthdays, birth announcements, moving announcements, etc. Customers send personal photos to her and she supplies a jpeg that is print-ready. The design work to create your custom photo card costs only $10-12, and then you can take the file to the photo processor of your choice to have all of the prints made that you desire.

I could go on and on. There are so many families who are raising money for adoptions, who are working hard and sacrificing, and who NEED YOUR HELP. Please considering blessing their hard work and encouraging their families with an order. From personal experience I know how exciting it is when someone who does not even know you places an order and partners with you to bring home your child. Thank you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eternal Purpose

Having reached our fundraising goal, we are aware in hindsight just how frenzied the past months have been. We didn’t realize how heavy the weight on our shoulders was until we were free of it.

I know that the burden was the Lord’s to carry all along. I know that he wants us to cast our cares upon him and to let the peace that passes understanding guard our hearts. We do. But it’s hard, you know. It’s hard to really let go of every little bit.

It’s not that we were worried, really. The burden was one of busyness, a constant awareness of just how much we had to do. We knew that God expected us to work while we were trusting him and not just sit and wait for the money to be delivered in the mail.

The busyness had purpose. We were working to raise money, not just for our own son, but for all the orphans of all the world. It is the calling of all Christians: “to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

Bringing Little Brother home is about way more than just expanding our family or giving a single orphan a forever family. My number one desire is to have a heart more like my Father. And his heart is with the vulnerable: the orphan, the widow, the distressed. And the fundraising is part of that. We were investing in the Kingdom of God by loving those that he loves. Every T-shirt printed, every blog post written, every yard sale item tagged had eternal purpose.

It has been extremely fulfilling to live with such purpose. But the purpose does not end just because we are done raising money. It does not end when we bring our son home.

I hope and pray that many, many children will be given families and homes because of Little Brother. I pray that others will love him, be reminded of the millions that he represents, and be moved to do something to reach out to the orphans of the world. And my heart’s desire is that our family will be forever changed in a profound way by what we see when we are in Ethiopia.

I do not know what God has planned for our family, but I can’t wait to find out.

He has opened our eyes and opened our hearts in amazing ways since the beginning of the year. 2009 has been a year of tremendous growth and change for our family.

So I thank him for the busyness and I thank him for the opportunity to work with eternal purpose. It's just the beginning....

A Photo Update

It's been a while since I have posted family photos. So, Grandma and Grandpa, here you go:

A couple of weeks ago Daniel and I left Madeline at her grandparents for the weekend and went to Land Between the Lakes, just the two of us. We had kinda fallen behind in our relationship during the era of fundraising. Life was all business for a while there. We didn't take as much time as we usually do to talk and to play. There was just too much to do...

So it was wonderful to get away for a couple of days. We went fishing on Kentucky Lake and caught enough blue gill for a wonderful fish dinner!

Here I am with my big catch. I love how holding the fish WAY out in front of me affects the perspective...

Last week, my sister visited with her 8-week-old bundle of joy. (She has become more of a true bundle of joy since her mama stopped eating dairy products...) We had a great time visiting and letting the cousins become better acquainted.

My mom doing what she most loves to do - reading to the little ones

Madeline doing what she most loves to do - reading her Bible. (Yes, this is STILL her favorite!)

We all went to visit Pap - my dad's dad.

Looking very studious...

Last weekend we had big fun carving a pumpkin with Madeline for the first time.

Madeline thought the pumpkin "guts" were pretty cool.

Daniel gave M her first taste of hot chocolate on a chilly evening this week. She couldn't get enough of it.

Madeline and Dad with their Vandy hats.

So there's a little peek into our family life. The Lord has been good to us.....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Order Your T-shirts Now!

In order to make the T-shirt fundraiser manageable, we plan to print and ship T-shirts every three weeks. We don't carry any extra inventory. We make each one by hand when it is ordered, and we just can't do it every single week....

If you would like your T-shirts to be included in our next shipment, please place your order by MONDAY NIGHT 10/19 at 10 pm. They will ship by the following Monday 10/26.

After that our next ship date will be Monday 11/16.

Thank you!

P.S. We've now sold $550 in T-shirts for the Dixon family. Woo hoo!

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Long-Sleeved Options

We have sold $380 worth of T-shirts in the last two days to benefit the Dixon family! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel even more excited to check the Paypal account now than I did when it was just to benefit our own family's adoption fund. This is so fun!

In case you have not yet had a chance to view our new and improved website, I thought I would give you a peek at our brand new long-sleeved apparel - perfect for fall and for CHRISTMAS GIFTS!

This is my handsome hubby modeling the new adult's long-sleeved T-shirt. These are Hanes Beefy T's, and they run just a bit large. They are a nice khaki/green color that blends well with the other brown and tan shirts.

And this is my precious girl showing off the white kid's long-sleeved tee. The sizes on these run pretty average. She is wearing a 2T in the photo. They're available in toddler sizes up to kid's medium.

I am most excited about this one - I LOVE wearing hoodies during the cold weather months. The light blue color matches the kid's short-sleeved T-shirt. So if you want matching "Go. Seek. Love." shirts for your whole family, then just put a white long-sleeved shirt under your child's blue shirt, and you can match in your hoodie. How cute would that be?

By the way, the hoodies run pretty big. I am wearing a small in the photo, and it fits generously. (I am usually a medium kind of girl.) If you are a truly small person, we can order a child's size sweatshirt for you. Just email us at, and we will work it out.

What do you think of the new cool weather items?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Go. Seek. Love.: The Next Chapter

I mentioned in a recent post that I would soon have an exciting announcement about our “Go. Seek. Love.” T-shirts. We have been so blessed through selling them. Recently our sales have picked up tremendously thanks to a few blogger friends who have helped to spread the word. We have shipped out shirts to 24 different states!

We’ve gotten positive feedback on our shirts, and we are reluctant to let a good thing die. We worked hard to prepare the website, to create the design, to build the infrastructure to run our own little business…. People like the shirts, and they are spreading a great message.

We have now raised all the money that we need for our adoption (Praise God!), and so we no longer need to sell them to add to our own adoption fund. But there are plenty of other adoptive families out there who could use a boost.

And so..... We would like to introduce you to the Dixon family.

Effective immediately, 100% of the proceeds from “Go. Seek. Love.” T-shirt and note card sales will benefit this wonderful family’s adoption of a baby girl from Ethiopia.

Duane and Jenny Dixon

Micah (4), Sophia (2), and Noah (9)

We are so excited to get to do this. It really is more fun to give than to receive. During our fundraising we found it hard to be humble enough to let other people give to us. But we learned that if you deny others to opportunity to give, you are denying them to blessing of giving, and of being part of bringing home your child and having their heart engaged with Africa, Ethiopia, and the needs that exist there. But now it's our turn! We get to be on the fun side of giving!

So check out our new and updated website: And buy a T-shirt while you are there! You can read more about the Dixon family's adoption story on the website and on their adoption blog.

Also, please help us to spread the word by adding a blog badge to your blog or website. Just copy and paste the html below. Thank you!

<a href=""><img src=""/></a>

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Adoption Article

Check out this article in yesterday's Tennessean. What an encouragement!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why I Love Publix

During the past several months while we have been fundraising, I have learned to take bargain shopping to a whole new level. I have discovered amazing websites like Southern Savers and Money Saving Mom that have helped me to find lots of free stuff at drug stores and incredible deals at my favorite grocery store – Publix.

I don’t want to bore you, but I just have to brag because I can’t contain my excitement. I had my best grocery shopping trip ever yesterday. I spent $16.48 and SAVED $47.33. That means that my total without coupons and sales would have been $63.81. Instead I paid less than 17 bucks!

I know, I know. I shouldn't have gotten the cookie dough and sugary cereal.... But it was practically free! You can see why I love to shop at Publix.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fun Saturday

Here is a peek into the fun that we had this weekend. Saturday was absolutely beautiful. Sunny skies and crisp fall air. Perfect.

We started out the morning at a fundraiser for our local small-town library. They had a waffle breakfast and a book sale. Then we walked to the park about a half mile away and went to a craft fair that was going on. Small town fun!

Madeline had her first experience in a blow-up bouncy thing. We were there early, so she was the only one in there. Fun!

After walking through the craft fair exhibits, we strolled down to the pond to feed the ducks.

We went home for lunch and nap time. Then in the afternoon struck out to the Celebration of Cultures at Centennial Park in downtown Nashville. There were exhibits displaying a taste of the culture from countries around the world and lots of ethnic food and crafts. Entrance into the Parthenon was free for the day, but we got there right after it had closed.

I think the skies are more beautiful during the month of October than any other time of year. So blue and clear.

Can you tell who takes all the pictures around here? It seems like I'm never in a photo anymore... Oh well.

I hope your weekend was as fun-filled as ours!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fundraising Details

It still hasn’t fully sunk in that we are done. That in 7 ½ months, God brought over $27,000 to our door. Wow.

I have been debating in my mind about how detailed to be in the information I share about money. For some reason we have the idea in our culture that financial information is supposed to be private. It is considered “tacky” to discuss one’s personal finances.

But I desire that my blog and our website to be as helpful and encouraging as possible to families who are considering adoption or are in the process of adopting. I don’t see any reason to keep these facts secret. I hope that by seeing how we raised our money, others will see how God has provided for us and be reminded that he can do the same for them.

I lean a bit toward being a nerd. OK, maybe a lot. I am an accountant by profession, and so, naturally, I have a QuickBooks file set up for our personal family finances as well as a separate one for our T-shirt sales and fundraising efforts. :) Consequently, I can provide precise data regarding where our $27k came from.

So here you go:

$6,050 Donations
$2,040 T-shirt sales (after deducting our costs)
$2,890 Yard sales (after deducting our costs)
$500 Gold party (friends sold their gold to a broker and I got a cut of the profits)
$900 Selling personal items on the internet
$500 Picking up trash at a community picnic (yes, we really earned $500 for one day’s work doing this!)
$2,130 Tax refund (thanks to the addition of Madeline - this was totally unexpected!)
$2,280 Insurance “profits” from our break-in in May (a great example of how God can use for good things that others intend for evil!)
$470 Unexpected reimbursement for a medical bill
$160 Change that I gathered from around the house, rolled, and deposited $4,360 Extra work that Sarah picked up
$1,360 Extra work that Daniel picked up
$4,050 Money that we saved from our regular budget by cutting everything that we could

I hope that this info will be helpful to someone out there. To those of you still fundraising: Keep up the good work! IT WILL HAPPEN. Keep praying and trusting God and working your tail off. I know that it is exhausting. But remember that it will be entirely worth it. God bless you!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Really Exciting Announcement

We are praising Jehovah-Jireh – our God who provides.

The Lord who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

- II Corinthians 9:10-11
Thank you, oh giver of seed. You have supplied us with all the “seed” that we need, and you are enlarging our harvest. May others hear of our story and give thanks to you!

We are overwhelmed with thanksgiving. We have raised all of the money that we need for the adoption. I always knew that God would provide, but I never dreamed that it would happen so quickly. It has been only 7 ½ months since we announced our intentions, and we have raised/saved/earned over $25,000. Praise God!

I think I expected God to show up at the last minute, just when it seemed like it wouldn’t happen. But he has been merciful and kind. He has showed us his power and generosity. I feel the warmth of his love, and I sense his approval and power. We do not deserve to be treated so kindly. We owe him everything.

We have worked and prayed and saved and sacrificed. And meanwhile God called others to sacrifice and work and pray and save along with us. I have felt such joy and peace about our finances in the past months. Never before have I felt so purposed, so fulfilled, so blessed regarding money. We have worked to save every extra cent for something that has eternal value instead of spending our energy dreaming of how to spend money on ourselves.

And do you know what we are dying to do now? Give to other families who are raising money. We have been tremendously humbled and encouraged by those who have sacrificed to help fund our adoption. Now we want in on the fun!

Yes, our God gives “seed” (money) to the sower, and he has given to us freely. Our job is simply to scatter it. Scatter it and watch him work.

While saving for the adoption, we cut our budget down to the bare bones. It made us realize how much extra we really have. And God doesn’t give us excess so that we can build palaces for ourselves and eat, drink, and be merry the rest of our days. Instead he says:

Command those who are rich in this present world (that’s us!) not to be arrogant or to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

- I Timothy 6:17-19
Sure we have a little catching up to do financially. We have a few “necessary” expenses that we have put off until we had the money saved. But I’m starting to question how necessary they really are. Shouldn’t we be living our lives sacrificially all the time? I know for sure that I would rather lay up treasure for the coming age than spend it all on myself now.

You may be wondering about our T-shirt fundraiser. We have some exciting plans for them, and I will share those with you soon.

We want to say thank you: Thank you to everyone who sacrificed to donate money toward our adoption; thank you to all who purchased T-shirts; thank you to each family who gave us items to sell at our yard sales; thank you to every person who gave us the opportunity to work to earn extra money; thank you to everyone who said a prayer for us. You humble us. May you fully know the joy of giving. You have stored up treasure in heaven. God bless you.